Health and Safety FAQs

Health and Safety

Your Health and Safety Are Our Top Priorities

 

For over 100 years, Princeton Health has provided the community with high quality care in a safe environment, and since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put extensive precautionary measures in place to minimize the risk of exposure for our patients and staff.

 

We recognize you may have questions.

 

Please review the FAQs below, and be assured that we understand your feelings and are committed to providing you the factual information you need to make informed decisions – along with your physician – about your care.

 

Q. What precautions is Princeton Health taking to make sure the environment is safe for me?

A.
  • Every day, all staff, providers, vendors, and potential visitors receive a health screening prior to entering. Staff with symptoms are not allowed to enter Princeton Health locations without further screening and follow up, which may include testing, care or self-isolation. Staff who test positive for COVID-19 must stay home until they are fully recovered. Any visitor with a temperature above 100.0 degrees or from states on the New Jersey travel advisory list will not be permitted to enter Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center (PMC) hospital. Visitors to outpatient sites are currently not allowed, except in special cases. For our full visitation policy, click here.
  • All staff, providers, patients and visitors are required to wear a protective mask that is issued by Princeton Health at all times, except when eating and drinking. We will provide one to patients and their support persons. If you arrive with your own mask or face covering from home, you may wear the mask that is provided to you by a Princeton Health representative instead of your own mask, under your own mask, or over your own mask.
  • Clinical care providers follow safety measures in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health, including wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure care is provided in a manner that promotes safety for patients and themselves.
  • Additional hand sanitizers have been placed throughout Princeton Medical Center and Princeton House to make it easy and convenient to practice good hand hygiene as recommended by the CDC.
  • Before invasive procedures or surgeries, patients have a COVID-19 test 24-48 hours prior to admission. If a patient tests positive, a decision will be made between the patient and their surgeon regarding the safety of delaying the procedure.
  • Waiting areas have been reconfigured so that patients can practice physical distancing. Waiting areas are cleaned several times a day, in accordance with infection control guidelines established by the World Health Organization (WHO), CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH).
  • As always, each operating room is thoroughly cleaned between cases in accordance with infection control guidelines established by the WHO, CDC and NJDOH.
  • Any rooms that have housed a COVID-19 patient undergo a thorough decontamination and disinfection process. Please see the question about room cleaning protocols for more details.
  • Our Environmental Services team disinfects high contact surfaces, including doorknobs and elevator buttons, several times a day and takes swab samples for colonization counts that are reported to our Infection Control Committee to demonstrate effectiveness.
  • Many registration tasks are now handled online or on the phone, limiting face-to-face check-in time. The ongoing installation of tempered glass barriers at locations where patients register or check in upon arrival supplements these and other ongoing precautions.

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Q. What about the Emergency Department? What measures are in place there to protect me from exposure to COVID-19?

A. Every patient who comes to the Emergency Department receives a mask and is screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival. We have a separate waiting area outside of the Emergency Department for any patients with symptoms to keep them separated from other patients.

All of our Emergency Department rooms are private rooms, and isolation precautions are in place for COVID-19 patients. Anyone suspected to have COVID-19 is immediately isolated and kept away from other patients. These patients do not share rooms or bathroom facilities with other patients. Any room that housed a COVID-19 patient undergoes a thorough decontamination and disinfection process. See the question about room cleaning protocols for more details.

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Q. What is Princeton Health doing to make sure I don’t come in contact with someone who has COVID-19?

A. In addition to the screening and testing protocols mentioned above, every patient that is admitted to the hospital gets tested for COVID-19, even patients without symptoms.

We have also created units that ONLY provide care for COVID-19 patients and that only provide care for patients who have not tested positive for COVID-19. Nurses who care for patients in the COVID-19 unit do not enter other treatment areas or have contact with patients from other units during their shift. Inpatients who are diagnosed with COVID-19 must wear a mask throughout their stay.

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Q. What are you doing to keep Labor and Delivery patients safe?

A. All Labor and Delivery patients are tested upon arrival at the hospital and asked a series of questions about any COVID-related symptoms, including exposures. Some are screened prior to their due date. Any mother who tests positive is placed in a safe and comfortable area, separate from other patients.

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Q. Do Princeton Health staff and physicians have the PPE they need to keep me safe?

A. Yes. We have sufficient PPE to ensure that you and our staff are safe. All of our staff have facemasks, and if needed, they also have PAPRS, face shields or goggles, gowns and gloves.

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Q. Can you tell me more about the room cleaning protocols at Princeton Health?

A. We conduct the following disinfection process in any room that has housed a COVID-19 patient:

  • Remove all items, including the bed and items in the closets and nurse server.
  • Clean the floor, walls, ceiling, bathroom, closets, doors, etc.
  • Change the lightbulbs
  • Wash the walls and ceiling again
  • Spray the entire room with a mist of hospital-approved disinfectant chemical that is effective against COVID-19, so that every surface, including cracks and crevices are reached and disinfected

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton Health has always used hospital-grade disinfectant during the cleaning process. It is powerful enough to kill the COVID-19 virus – and other powerful viruses and germs – on surfaces.

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Q. How does Princeton Health regulate air quality throughout the hospital?

A. Princeton Medical Center was designed with safety in mind. The hospital has 100 percent fresh air in patient areas. This means we do not recirculate air from any patient room into other spaces – even into the corridors outside patient rooms. All air that comes into a patient room comes from the outside and passes through ultraviolet light that purifies it. It then goes through a HEPA filter that captures and filters out particles before it reaches a patient room.

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Q. What kind of safety track record did Princeton Health have prior to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A. We are regularly recognized for the safety and quality of our care.

  • For five consecutive years, PMC has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Regional Hospital and rated “high performing” in hip replacement, knee replacement, and treating heart failure.
  • PMC holds advanced certification from The Joint Commission in perinatal care and total hip and total knee replacements.
  • The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) have granted PMC advanced certification as a Primary Stroke Center. In addition, PMC earned AHA/ASA's Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.
  • Princeton Health has been designated a Center of Excellence by the Society for Obstetric Anesthesiology and Perinatology.
  • PMC is a Magnet Recognized Organization, the highest institutional honor for nursing excellence, and has been designated an Exemplar Hospital by NICHE, an international program promoting patient-centered care for older adults.
  • Our hospital-acquired infection rates are consistently lower than or comparable to nationally published benchmarks. This is a result of consistently following our stringent policies and practices related to infection control and disinfection each and every day. These policies and practices were developed by a team of physicians and nurses who specialize in infection control and are in compliance with guidelines from the Center for Disease Control. They are monitored regularly by committees including Infection Control, Performance Improvement, Combined Committee (which includes physician leaders and administrators) and the Performance Improvement Committee of the Board of Trustees. All staff who have contact with patients receive comprehensive training in safety measures and are required to participate in annual continuing education on this topic.

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Q. Who do I contact if I have further questions about safety precautions?

A. Please contact Patient Relations at 609.853.7490.

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